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7.6 Papua Indonesian Earthquake

AP is reporting on an Indonesian “ring of fire” earthquake, near Papua New Guinea (the far eastern part of Indonesia):

One of the quakes — a 7.3-magnitude tremor — was felt as far away as Australia and sent small tsunamis into Japan’s southeastern coast. The first 7.6-magnitude quake struck at 4:43 a.m. local time (1943 GMT) about 85 miles (135 kilometers) from Manokwari, Papua, at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers), the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was followed by dozens of aftershocks. At least four people died in Papua, and the airport runway nearest the epicenter was cracked, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told reporters. Commercial flights to the area were canceled. The National Disaster Coordination Agency said 135 houses and buildings were badly damaged or collapsed. [link]

Indonesia, or more precisely the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, are made up of a bunch of islands set upon a mass of linked fault lines and volcanoes, which adds up to constant and turbulent seismic activity. A huge quake off western Indonesia near Sumatra caused the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed a quarter-million people, but a recent 7.5 magnitude Sulawesi Indonesian earthquake had almost no casualties.

January 4, 2009
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